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Film Review - A.I. Artificial Intelligence
"I'm an artificial boy, and I'm very boring."
Stanley Kubrick made two kinds of film. First he made really great commentaries like Doctor Stangelove or Full Metal Jacket, and then he made really dull and boring films like Eyes Wide Shut or Barry Lyndon. Even 2001: A Space Odyssey which I do like, has it's dull moments. (Such as the 7 establishing shots for the Dawn of Man sequence.) You can't argue that Kubrick wasn't a great film maker, but damn some of his work was in need of editing.
Stanley Kubrick died on March 7, 1999. He was working on a new film but hadn't finished the concept. When he died, the job of moving the film out of the concept stage and getting it produced fell on Steven Spielberg. Spielberg to his credit looked at every scrap of paper Kubrick had written on the project. He wanted to make the film as Kubrick would have.
The trouble is Spielberg succeeded. A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a long, drawn-out, boring film. It is punctuated by computer-generated eye candy, but in the end, this is dull. The film is really The Adventures of Pinocchio and makes no bones about admitting what it is. In this case the puppet is a robot who wants to be a real boy. So there you have the basis for the story.
You can tell the Pinocchio story in 90 to 120 minutes. A.I. crams this story into 145 minutes. It feels longer than it is. You hit the two thirds mark and realize they don't have an ending for the picture. You're right, they don't. The final 30 minutes is wasted looking for a way out. This movie doesn't work.
I mentioned the eye candy. It's getting very sad that the best parts of films these days are the effects. This seems to be where the real creative juices are flowing. But even George Lucas will tell you that an effect without a story is boring. A.I.'s effects are top-notch. But the lack of imagination about robots seems a crime.
Every robot in this movie is human in design. But even today we have domestic robots that vacuum the house or mow the lawn. These are not human in design for two reasons. First, it is not an efficient design for the task. Second, the human form is very hard to make stand up. Yes, there are now some bipedal robots in labs. But getting them to walk has been a very large investment. Why A.I. wouldn't depict non-human form robots is puzzling. In the world that has been created for this film, there should be robots of all shapes and sizes everywhere.
If you want my advice (and why are you reading this if you don't?), stay away from this film. Go rent The Adventures of Pinocchio with Martin Landau, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Genevieve Bujold. It's the same story, but done much better.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Released in 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo